The real bottom line in spying | Bleader

The real bottom line in spying

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"Over the past six years, a quiet revolution has occurred in the intelligence community toward wide-scale outsourcing to corporations and away from the long-established practice of keeping operations in US government hands, with only select outsourcing of certain jobs to independently contracted experts. Key functions of intelligence agencies are now run by private corporations. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) revealed in May that 70 percent of the intelligence budget goes to contractors..."

That's R.J. Hillhouse writing in the Nation. (Hat tip Christopher Hayes.) Read the whole thing for details. 

"Concerned members of the intelligence community have told me that if a corporation wanted to insert items favorable to itself or its clients... to influence the US national security agenda, at this time it would be virtually undetectable. These companies have analysts and often intelligence collectors spread throughout the system and have the access to introduce intelligence into the system.

"To take an extreme example, a company frustrated with a government that's hampering its business or the business of one of its clients could introduce or spin intelligence on that government's suspected collaboration with terrorists in order to get the White House's attention and potentially shape national policy. Or, more subtly, a private firm could introduce concerns about a particular government to put heat on that government to shape its energy policy in a favorable direction..."

Think you know what a Nation writer would prescribe? Think again.

"The tools needed to close this vulnerability are available, and they can be found in the private sector. Existing techniques could be applied to monitor the intelligence community for any suspicious activity to insure that no corporation could manipulate US government policy in this way. Closing the gaps is simply a matter of the Director of National Intelligence acknowledging the problem, then finding the political will and leadership to implement a solution."

As I've said before, the best people to privatize government functions are those who actually care that said government functions are properly performed.

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